Trump blasts Harley plan to shift US production to avoid EU tariffs


The company sold almost 40,000 motorcycles in the Europe Union previous year, with sales second only to those in the U.S. "Their employees and customers are already very angry at them", he wrote on Twitter. Moving production to overseas factories is expected to require nine to 18 months, so in the near-term Harley-Davidson will absorb the costs of European Union tariffs, the company said in a regulatory notice. European Union lawmakers clearly knew what they were doing when they announced surgical counter-tariffs on American products.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday renewed his attacks on Harley-Davidson, accusing the motorcycle manufacturer of using the trade war as an "excuse" to move production for the European market out of the United States.

The famed motorcycle maker said in a regulatory filing Monday that European Union tariffs on its motorcycles exported from the USA jumped from 6 percent to 31 percent.

In its SEC filing Harley-Davidson said the company maintains a strong commitment to US-based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally.

As for Harley-Davidson, the Milwaukee-based company delivered the best message to Trump and other votaries of the global trade war.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration plans to impose curbs on Chinese investment in American technology companies and high-tech exports to China. The company did not comment on how many jobs would be shifted away from the USA, but said that it would take between nine and 18 months to move production away from Wisconsin. In early 2018, the motorcycle manufacturer said it would be forced to close a factory in Kansas City and downsize production at a facility in York, Pennsylvania, a move that cut roughly 260 jobs, due to weakening bike sales overseas. This was before the tariffs were announced. "Taxes just a Harley excuse - be patient", he said.

"One of the reasons we did tax reform was to make it easier for businesses to keep manufacturing in America and export overseas", Ryan said.

Trump warned Harley-Davidson that any shift in production "will be the beginning of the end". The company provided no details of the number of jobs that would be lost as a result of the production change.

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Harley has also long lobbied against retaliatory tariffs, saying they put the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Analysts at Baird Equity Research cut its 2018 profit estimates for Harley-Davidson to US$3.70 per share from US$3.90 and now expect 2019 profit of US$3.85, down from US$4.20. These range from cranberry and orange juice concentrate, to bourbon, jeans, and Harley-Davidson's bikes.

Trump said he's getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers, citing India as an example, and to open up markets.

"Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson", the company said.

Mr Trump said he has fought hard for the company and was surprised by its plans, which he described as waving the "White Flag".

Our goal should always be to make America the sort of place where companies choose to do business. He could be referring to the tariffs he is attempting to unilaterally impose on foreign imports. To avoid this cost, the company will shift to countries where there are lower or no tariffs.

Trump's Twitter account has, in fact, been filled with posts on this matter.

Ryan says the USA should counter unfair trading practices, but says, "There are better tools than tariff increases".